Friday, May 21, 2010


Tomorrow's forecast 86 and sunny. A little hot but ZERO chance of precipitation!! PTL!

Almost Time!

Well, it's Friday night. Tomorrow is WEDDING DAY! I can't believe it's here already! I've had such a blast blogging on the Aluminum Bride... thank you for joining me on my journey! I'll post some pics when I'm a Mrs! :-)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Its a Hairy Situation

I am in STL... FOR MY WEDDING! OMG! 7 days until I say "I do". Less than 7 really, because it's 9:30pm right now!
I wrote a to-do list on the airplane. It's THREE pages long. I think some of these to-do's should have been to-done's, but alas I'm a serial procrastinator. Like for instance...

Yes, girls, I am ONE WEEK away from my wedding and am flip flopping about my hair. The girl that did my hair for my trial was super sweet. The curl stayed in all night, BUT I wasn't impressed with the "style". I've been FREAKING out about it. I thought if I just put a little poof in the front and had her curl the rest, then maybe that would be easier and it would turn out better.

Here's me and my Jr BM on Easter, my DIY version of the "poof"

But I'm scared I'll look like a little girl and I'm worried that if my hair gets the least bit frizzy I will look like a cocker spaniel.

And I want to look like one hot biotch! NOT like a female DOG! Seriously, by this point I should AT LEAST know if I'm going to wear it up or down, but I am COMPLETELY torn. Up would be nice, very "bridal", and formal, won't fall out or get frizzy. Down is the way J likes my hair and its the way I feel the most comfortable in every day life.

So, despite the fact that I am LITERALLY broke (as in I owe my photog $200 more than I actually HAVE), I think I'm going to TRY to get another hair trial with someone who HAPPENS to be available ONE WEEK from today. I know this is a long shot. But I want to look beautiful on my wedding day and I'm terrified that I won't!

Here are some of my latest hair-spirations. Sorry, I don't rememeber where I got these, they were compiled in the midst of a paniced google session:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Know its Close

When your milk expires on your wedding day!! OMG! 9 days!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Let Me Catch You Throwing These Away

I remember a conversation my mom and I had about 6 months ago.

The Aluminum Bride: I don't know why brides get so stressed out right before the wedding. I mean everything is going so smoothly and we're so well prepared that surely we won't have any last minute projects. I mean, last minute projects are only for the lazy.
The Aluminum Mom: Yes, I think some girls are simply not as prepared as we are. Not to mention poised, classy, and gorgeous.

Okay, maybe that's a PARAPHRASED conversation, but the point was "we're prepared".
Or so we thought.
Programs. I hadn't FORGOTTEN about the programs, perse. I just was indecisive on the readings/music for the Mass. So finally I talked to our musician and our priest and hashed out a plan! I'm so excited! I think it will be beautiful and meaningful and I simply can't wait!!!!!
BUT, since I leave for StL in FIVE days, I knew I needed to bust out some programs like yesterday. Hello, not a good project for a girl with mild (self diagnosed) dyslexia! I mean some serious brain power went in to determining that pages 4 and 9 went on the back of 10 and 3. And yes. You read that right. We actually have a total of 12 pages in our program! The music is super duper important to me and I wanted to include all of the lyrics. Whew. What a pain!
I used Cambria and Edwardian Script as my fonts and some little scrolly graphics that turned out kind of low res, but I'm not too concerned! I also used the same design I used on my RSVP cards. I used Word, because I'm very 1995 when it comes to technology! If you're as clueless as I am, here are step by step instructions...
--I went to File>Page Setup>Margins>Orientation>Landscape
--Then in the same window I changed the margins, I just typed in 0, 0, 0, 0 and let the computer fix them for me.
-- Now for the page layout. This was TRICKY, but my BM Ana sent me her lovely template to go by. And I went by it. Until I realized that her program was 8 pages and mine was 12!!!! But it still helped. If YOU have a 12 page program, you can follow this....
Start with
12 and 1
on the back of 12 and 1 go 2 and 11
10 and 3
on the back of 10 and 3 go 4 and 9
8 and 5
on the back 8 and 5 go 6 and 7
and voila! You're done. Good luck! Here are pages 10 and 3 (10 on the left and 3 on the right)

So after I spent an entire week laying out the program I had to find somewhere to print it.
I called Office Depot
The Aluminum Bride: Hi, I need wedding programs printed, do you do that sort of thing?
Bratty Office Depot Girl: How many and what format?
The Aluminum Bride: Well, just did them in wo...
Bratty Office Depot Girl: ...I SAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIDDDD how MANY??
The Aluminum Bride: EXCUSE ME? I KNOW you did not just talk to me like that.
Bratty Office Depot Girl: (politely) I'm sorry, I was wondering how many you'd like printed.
The Aluminum Bride: THAT'S more like it.
True story. No exaggeration whatsoever in this one.
So (despite my better judgement) I brought my CD in to Office Depot the following Sunday. The Bratty Office Depot Girl was absolutely NO better in person. She was a tattooed teeny bopper who did NOT want to be working. She originally told us that they couldn't be done. But then called her supervisor over. He wasn't much more accommodating, but agreed to do them.
We found card stock that was prescored and had a pretty little black border. They also agreed to use their handy dandy folding machine to fold the inserts. YES! That just freed up about 40 hours of mind numbing work!
So 2 hours later and about 100 eye rolls from Bratty Office Depot Girl. We had the workings of some awesome (if I do say so myself) wedding programs. Now I just have to find a way to hold them together. Staples? Ribbon? I don't know!!!

THREE boxes of programs (with Bratty Office Depot Girl blurred in the background)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Music for the Masses

Well, really, music for ONE Mass. :-) OUR Mass. This has been the part I've been looking the most forward to! I LOVE a Liturgy that tugs at your heart strings (I mean, I DID graduate from Franciscan University!) so, I have been on the search for the perfect music! We have an AMAZING praise and worship band. Here are some of the songs that have made our short list! I wish we could have 5 Masses so we could incorporate all of the amazing songs out there!!!

Matt Maher: Set Me as a Seal

Twila Paris: How Beautiful

Adam Bitter: Hold My Hand

Jeremy Camp: Beautiuful One

Wedding Wishes and Butter Dishes!

After spending ¾ of our engagement obsessing over the perfect guest book, I finally came across this post on Wedding Bee. BINGO! I was in love. You write out various “starters” on 4x6 cardstock and let your guests fill in the rest of the sentence. Here are some that we’ll be using.

1. For a long and loving marriage…
2. My wedding wish for you…
3. May you have…
4. Always remember…
5. Always make sure to…
6. Marriage is like…
7. Always say…
8. Don’t forget to…
9. Never say….
10. Love means….
11. Marriage means….
12. Never underestimate….
13. One advantage of marriage is…
14. Marriage requires…
15. A good marriage is based on….
16. To prepare for marriage, one should….
17. The formula for a successful marriage is…
18. On your 1st anniversary don’t forget to…
19. After the reception remember to…
20. The most important thing to do on your wedding night is…

And after we’ll put them in a photo album, like THIS one that my mom bought me for all of my bridal shower photos.

I’m sure we’ll get some hilarious answers… and maybe some sweet ones. And I’ll include a few “We danced at your wedding! From____________” for people that don’t want to have to think of something clever and witty!

So my decision was made.

Now on to the next conundrum, how do I display these in a conspicuous enough place for guests to be willing to fill them out? Somewhere that wouldn’t cause congestion at the place where the guest book would normally be. I thought the tables would be nice, but I was hesitant to clutter up our beautiful tablescapes.

And then I was strolling through the Dollar Tree one day and came upon a huge display of butter dishes. I took one and flipped it upside down, used double sided tape to tape ribbon around it and voila! A Wedding Wishes container was born! I’ll use the part where the butter normally sits for the pens. And put the cards in the upsidedown lid! Perfect! And how fitting that J and J Butterton repurposed BUTTER DISHES for our wedding! Hehe!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guest Book Blahs...

I have a case of the guest book blahs. I've been searching all over the place for a unique guest book idea. I'm sure most people NEVER look at their guest books. It means so much to me that people are taking time out of their busy lives to celebrate our special day, so I knew I wanted something more than signatures in a dusty book to remind me of their presense at our wedding.

I thought about the Polaroid Guest Book, which I thought would be great... but too costly for us (Camera and film for 200ish people = expensive!) and I worried that people wouldn't want to take pictures of themselves.


Along the same lines I thought of a mock photobooth (a "fauxtobooth" if you will!) where guests dress up in silly costumes and print out pictures on old fashioned photobooth strips. Once again, would people do it? And I'd have to appoint someone to take and print the pictures and that sounded like A. an extra expense, or B. a pain in the rump for whomever I'd appoint, and C. a waste if people didn't want to do it. So I ixnayed the fauxtobooth idea.


I thought about having guests sign a photomat, but I can't imagine I'd want that hanging in my house for years to come.

I've seen people have coffee table books made with their engagement pictures and had guests sign the space in the margins. But I wasn't feeling that either.


I've seen Family Tree guest books, but not everyone at the wedding will be family.


I've seen Quaker Marriage Certificates, but with such a large guest list we'd need a HUGE one!


Then I came across an idea that I fell in love with...

To be continued...

ONLY 34,595 More Minutes

24 days
576 hours
34595 minutes
2075717 seconds

Thursday, April 22, 2010


We got to see and order our engagement pics today! I'm THRILLED. J and I are both EXTREMELY critical of the way we look in photos. We had rather low expectations of how they’d turn out since we're both hoping to lose some more weight before the wedding (ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!). But for a couple of Fatty McFattersons, I think these turned out pretty stinkin good!! We were so happy with Brandy, our photographer and Josh, her hubby from Something Beautiful Studio and Design. If you’re in the Birmingham (Gadsden) area, check them out! She’s so extremely talented, like a little jewel in the middle of Gadsden, Alabama!! And her sitting fee was completely reasonable too… much more so than the other engagement photographers I looked at. We have another appointment to go back to have some of these edgy shots done in our wedding duds after the big day. I'm sure we'll use her for baby (God willing) and family photos too.

Brandy will do some wicked amazing editing on the images we chose. The first one is my favorite and the second one is J's favorite. Unfortunately neither one of us was thrilled with the other's choice in favorites... but since J has already mastered the art of compromise. We got MY favorite in a wall portrait and HIS favorite in a 5x7! haha! We'll probably go back and order his favorite in a wall portrait too, when funds aren't so tight… because, hel-lo weddings are expensive!!

Without further ado, our engagement photos! (All from The Amazing Brandy at Something Beautiful)

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'd like to introduce you....

To these lovely BM's that I keep talking about!!

Up first:

MOH - Kristen: Kristen and I met in the Baltimore airport. We both participated in the Crusade for Life during college, where we walked 1300 miles across the Northeast to spread the pro-life message. During our 3 months on the road we became BFFs! We laugh until we cry!

Sometimes during out 1300 mile trek
we'd get sick of walking and give each other piggy back rides

BM - Jennifer Rose: Jennifer and I met in the womb. I'm not joking. Our moms met and became best buds when they were pregnant with us. So we've literally been friends forever. She's as dear to me as a sister. She's got a great family including the cutest 16-month old son you'd ever want to meet!

This same photo of me and Jennifer Rose and her brother
is taken at every Christmas! We've had an annual
family Christmas party since we were 3 years old!

BM - Ana: Ana and I met in college. We started out at one school together and transferred at the same time to another school. At this other school we shared the weirdest apartment I'd ever seen. Complete with bullet holes, an oven that smelled like a dead person, a rickety old deck that easily could have collapsed at any moment, and an address of 1415 AND A HALF. She's beautiful. Intelligent. And holy. I mean, what more could you ask for in a BM. She recently got married and we spend way too much time emailing about weddings.

I can only pray that our wedding turns out as beautifully as hers did!! :-)

BM - Kinsey: Kinsey is J's amazing daughter. She's a college student trying to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life (and finds no comfort when her dad and I tell her that WE'RE still trying to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives too!! haha!). She's stunningly beautiful and will surely steal the show on the day of the wedding. :-) :-) :-)

See what I mean??? If J and I have ugly kids I will know it's all my fault!!! :-)

JR BM - Rachel: Rachel is my 16th cousin twice removed/goddaughter. She's 9 years old and is super sweet and just a little bit feisty! I love that! She's a fashionista and a jock!

Here we are a couple years ago!

So there you have it! My 5 lovely ladies. I feel so honored that I'll be surrounded by such amazing and diverse women on my wedding day! Love you girls! :-)

Drama Averted

Thank you Jesus!

My lovely BM went to DB, found a dress she liked in the same color as the other girls' dress.

She ordered it.

I called my DB and ordered another dress for our other BM. AND even got some money back because the new dress was cheaper!! (Good work Ana!)

Whew!!!! :-)

So we'll have two girls in one dress and 2 girls in another. I think it will look great. In fact, my original plan was to let all the girls pick their own dresses... it kind of happened anyway...

So, a little bit of drama, but I got what I wanted all along! :-) Don't you love it when things work out like that!!

Go Away...


One of my BM's called David's Bridal several weeks ago and said "what is the very last day that I can order this dress to have it in time for a wedding at the end of May". DB said "April 15th". So, she called on April 14th and said "I want to order this dress" and they said "sorry charlie, that dress no longer exists anywhere in the universe."


So now what? I can't have ONE girl in a completely different dress. I can't have lopsided bridal party. (I mean, maybe one of the groomsman could walk down our junior bm, but doncha think that'd look plain silly??!!! I do.)

Well, after calling every DB in the country, telling them that this is clearly their fault. And that clearly THEY are responsible for fixing it. We decided that the only thing to do is for said BM to get a new dress in cornflower blue. DB said that we could swap out one of the other BM dresses, so we will exchange K's dress for whatever my other BM chooses. So we'll have 2 in one dress and 2 in another and pray it looks intentional.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pre-Post-Wedding Depression

So we're less than 6 weeks away from the "big moment". And there have been so many wonderful "little moments" so far leading up to it... Unfortunately I've been obsessing over some of those moments that J and I have missed out on. There will be no other time in my life that I'll be a bride to be, so I'm dissappointed at myself for omitting some of the "regular" pre-wedding "moments" from our planning. I feel like I'm having PRE-post wedding depression.

Like STDs (save the dates thankyouverymuch). I spent weeks looking at different STDs and by the time I got around to CHOOSING STDs, it was too late to send them out. Save the Date for J and Jill's wedding, invitation to follow in 3 weeks. Ya know? Silly. So no, STDs, I've been comforting myself with the knowledge that we saved some dough!
I also TOTALLY regret not having engagement portraits done. They came with our wedding package, but the only time we were planning on being in St. Louis together was when J's dad died. My dear BM (bridesmaid thankyouverymuch) told me that the pics we took of ourselves when we got engaged would suffice as e-pics.

But I wanted REAL e-pics. I thought it'd be good for us to have some practice having pictures taken OF us, rather than taking them of ourselves. My darling J has a tendency to smile like Zoolander. I think it's endearing, but I don't want a whole wedding album full of THIS. . . .


I couldn't shake my pre-post wedding regret when it came to these silly e-pics. So I cyber stalked MANY photographers in Bham. Called them all to find out what they'd charge for simple e-pics... and about threw up when they told me their price. Session fee $300. 8x10 $150. 4x6 $55. WHAT? Are you KIDDING me???? (Why do I not take photographs for a living!!???)

Finally I remembered a photographer that J and I met during one of our favorite "Aluminum Dates" to Gadsden, Alabama's First Friday. The studio is called Something Beautiful. And it had EVERYTHING I wanted! It is a little hip and urban and just a wee bit edgy (ironic because J and I are not so hip, very SUB-urban, and as traditional and un-edgy as they come!!). What drew me in was THIS picture found on her website. YES! SHE HAS A BLACK AND WHITE DAMASK BACKGROUND!! And she's reasonable! And she edits all glowy, like I like!! Perfect! We're scheduled for this Saturday at 4pm! Now, I just have to find something to WEAR!!! UGH!


Friday, April 9, 2010

DI... WHY?

SIX weeks until I get married. SIX WEEKS. I’m hyperventilating into a paper bag right now. This completely snuck up on us! We probably should have had these invites out, say 2 weeks ago, but they didn’t get finished until about mid-night last night. As you remember, these invites were our first wedding related purchase, over a year ago. A year ago I had no idea we'd end up with such contempt for the little buggers. (How ironic that just days earlier I posted about these invites saying that they'd save me gray hairs! HA! Hindsight, dear friends.)


First. Printing. We decided to have the invites printed by a professional. We couldn’t afford engraving (seriously, who can? It’s a fortune!!!), but we were able to use thermography (raised letter printing). The invites turned out beautifully. BUT, I designed a fancy schmancy little monogram to go at the top of the RSVP cards. I LOVED it. But when I saw it in person I was horrified. I’d forgotten that there was a scrolly design already printed on the RSVP paper. It looks uber busy. Of course, Mom, Dad, J and a dear BM all told me it looked fine and I was overreacting (who moi??!), but I’m still disappointed in the way they turned out. My only consolation, they’re RSVP cards, so they’ll get sent back to my folks!

Secondly. Direction Cards. We needed direction cards. Our ceremony and reception are in two different locations, we needed TWO sets of directions, and I didn’t really know how I wanted to approach this. I went to wedding mapper and tried my hand at my own maps inspired by wedding bee (if I would have stuck with these, I'm sure my guests would have ended up in East Zimbabwe for the wedding, and Alaska for the reception), nothing looked right. I finally decided to ditch the map idea all together and just print out the directions. Happily, I went about double sided printing both sets of directions on the perforated direction cards that came with our invitation set. Uh. Oops. You CAN’T double side print on perforated cards. I had no idea. So, back to square one. I ditched the perforated cards and bought 4x6 card stock at Hobby Lobby. I double sided printed those, 2 per card, and then had them cut at Office Max for under a dollar and it took maybe one minute! Seriously, if you need a big set of anything cut, take them to Office Max pronto!

Thirdly. Typing. I don’t know how to merge one document into another, so I spent an entire evening typing my guest list’s addresses into Avery label templates. And that was just MY guest list. Dad spent an entire evening typing his list too. My eyes grew crossed and my head started to spin. My heartfelt apologies if your label has some poor misconfiguration of your name on it!

Fourthly. Stuffing. I spent a whole other evening stuffing direction cards and RSVP cards into 150 invites. Thankfully, my beloved Cardinals were on tv. Envelope stuffing, Card's baseball, and Imo's Pizza/toasted ravioli. If you're from St. Louis, I've just described your image of heaven (sans envelope stuffing, I hope!)

Fifthly. The bows. I told my mom that the bows that came with the set weren’t critical. We could just leave them off. It’d save us a lot of work and they wouldn’t be missed. Mom liked the bows. So, I started tying them on the invitations. Mom said something along the lines of “can’t you get them to look normal”, I couldn’t. But she could, hers looked like perfect little Martha Stewart bows, so she took over the bow tying task. 9 days, and a finger blister later, she has 150 perfectly tied bows. (actually, some people might not have gotten bows.... maybe it was more like 30 perfectly tied bows... but they are PERFECT.)

My Attempt:

Mom (Momtha Stewart)'s Perfection:

Sixthly (I’m making up words). The label putting on. Our invites are black. So we needed labels, as I mentioned thirdly, we printed them on Avery templates. Avery templates are wonderful. But they don’t actually put the labels on for you, where's Mr. Avery for that?? You have to do that yourself. ;-p hehe! Well, Mom had to do that herself. I was back in Birmingham by that time. Another. Day’s. Work. (PS. Thanks for all your hard work, Mom!)

Seventhly. Work invites. All the aforementioned hard work doesn’t count the invites we’re giving friends from work (J and I work together). We decided to do those separately, since we only had 150 fancy invites. We got 2 sets of black and white damask(ish) invites from Gartners. I took a bunch of the extra sillyly printed RSVP cards with me to stuff in the work invites. Oops, they are done in raised lettering. I can’t send out raised letter RSVP cards and flat invites. So, I sent off the work invites to a printer in Birmingham (didn’t get nearly the good deal we got in St. Louis!) for them to be done in thermography as well. Still waiting on those. And then the long, tedious task starts all over! Thank goodness there aren’t any bows on those!


The moral of this story. It might cost a teensy bit more. But don’t DIY your invites. Seriously, who needs the headache... or the blisters. You could order your invites, and they could arrive in a box, neatly, completely at your door.

Flow It, Show It, Long as God Can Grow It, My HAIR

I fell in love with J practically instantly. And practically instantly I decided I’d grow my hair out for the wedding. Yes. I was thinking about the wedding after date, say, 3. So my hair has gone from this. ...

to this...

In the time we’ve been dating. (I also got the gap in my teeth closed a couple years ago in anticipation of our wedding day. I'm serious. This was a good year and a half pre-engagement!... I'm only admitting all of this because I will be getting married in SIX weeks! hehe!)

Now its practically time for the wedding. I had my hair trial this weekend. I worried that my hair was TOO long. That it would compete with the beautiful V at the back of my gown. J would adamantly disagree and my mom would give her left leg for me to cut my hair into a shoulder length bob as I wore it for 24 of my 28 years. I contemplated getting a PRE-wedding chop, but decided on a mere trim instead. I'm so glad I did. At my trial my hair held the curl better than it had EVER done before!

I spent hours scouring the internet for the perfect wedding do and for the perfect wedding stylist. Since I live in Birmingham (and am madly in love with my stylist here… and even thought about flying him to St. Louis for the wedding), I’ve had to take a leap of faith in the hair department. I noticed on Facebook that an old high school friend got married. I LOVED her hair, so I emailed her and asked her where she got her hair done. She told me, I scheduled an appointment and I spent TWO hours getting it recreated on my head!

(NOTE TO SELF: before taking a picture that you will willingly post on the internet for countless people to view... please freshen up your makeup and tuck in your bra straps)

Here's the verdict. I LOVE the curl. She curled it with a Chi Straightening Iron, like you would curl a ribbon with scizzors! It was amazing to watch! The curl stayed in all night. And it wasn't crispy crunchy curl, but rather soft lucious curl! :-) I wasn't in love with the front. I felt a little cone-headed, with the sides of my hair plastered to my head (before I pulled a few strands loose) and the top as tall as a Southern beauty queen. ;-)

The next day I did a little bump in front. I tried on my veil. I got tingly! I found my REAL bridal hair style! Unfortunately it would mean not wearing the tiara that my dear friend was letting me use as my "something borrowed". And I thought for sure my mom would refuse to have a daughter who was a tiara-less bride. So I sat at the table with my mom, with my tingle inducing hair, she looked at me and said "you should wear your hair like that for the wedding". So there you have it. The story of how my wedding hair developed. ;-) Here's what I'm going for...

I'm sorry, I have no clue where I got this picture, I've had it saved to my computer since my hair was short and my teeth were gapped! hehe! I guess I've wanted this style forever!!!

Brilliant Photographers!

I love photography. I’m okay at it. But I always want to get better. When I first discovered Jessica Claire and Becker, I flipped. And spent WAYYYYYYY too long going through each of their blog posts. They are both brilliant photographers that shoot in a way that is exactly what I hope my images to look like (both the ones I photograph and the ones photographed of me!).

I’m sure what I like about both artists is their impeccable photo editing. I mean, photography is a whole different ballgame than it was 10 years ago. I believe that if you learn to edit really well, that is what sets you apart from other wedding photographers. I adore that new “glowy” feel. It’s almost magical!

Check out Becker’s before and after shots (all pictures below from there). Genius!! He takes photos from good to AH-MAZING! See…

Jessica Claire shoots a lot of romantic Mid-Summer Nights Dreamish photos, of weddings with a lot more uniqueness and style than my “I know damask is overdone” wedding. I wouldn’t pick that level of vintagey goodness for my own nuptials, but there’s something about her images that I’m absolutely drawn to! It’s that vintage image done in a modern way that I love.

When I first started planning my Aluminum Wedding, I knew I wanted “classic and timeless”, I know I am having elements of 2010 (such as the forementioned overdone damask), but my hope is that when my kids look at my wedding album, they find little to laugh at! :-)